I am writing this blog entry to share with you a recent breakthrough I have had in discovering the next step on my life’s path. Before I launch into all of that, I want to take a moment to share with you where I am currently and the work I’ve been doing which has provided the fertile soil for this next stage of life to sprout.
Past to Present
This past year has been full of transition, as my wife, Laurie, and I settled into a new chapter of life in Santa Rosa, living on a 12 acre plot of wild land with my sister and her family. We created this family “compound” with the commitment to live off the land as much as possible and to do so in community with our “tribe.”
Last August we purchased a Tiny House, bought a compost toilet and learned the ropes to use it effectively, added an off-grid solar system and did the groundwork for building a rainwater harvesting system. I’ve been living in the Tiny House nearly full time since February, and Laurie joined me full time in May after completing her job in San Francisco.
Meanwhile, I spent the last year transitioning my Natural Movement business, Wild Play Fitness, to the Santa Rosa area. As I adapted the business model to the unique culture and community of Sonoma County’s Wine Country, I spent a lot of time examining what it was exactly that I wanted to provide my clients and how I wanted to live my life as a demonstration of what was possible and available for them.
At the beginning of summer some thoughts and ideas started falling into place. I had been considering enrolling in a highly respected Permaculture program, but as I listened to my intuition and felt for guidance for which direction to head in, it became clear this wasn’t my path.
The overwhelming feeling I had when considering permaculture, or gardening in general, was one of laziness. It all just seemed like so much work!
You should know, I am a lazy person by nature, but as I’ve matured I’ve come to realize that when I experience laziness when confronted by an opportunity, that it’s actually a subtle bump from my intuition to look in a new direction. The reason I believe this to be the case is that nature never works hard. Nature always follows the path of least resistance, requiring the least amount of effort to achieve what is required.
I have been enthralled by what some call “Ancestral Health” for years now. The guiding principal of Ancestral Health is that we humans, as a species, evolved in a natural environment, moving our body in certain ways, eating certain foods, communing with our people in certain ways, and regularly participating in certain activities. This is an important field of inquiry because today’s modern world is so far removed from the environment in which we evolved to live in, until a comparably short time ago, that our bodies, minds, and spirit can’t catch up and it’s causing all manner of disease and detrimental behaviors with ourselves and our world.
As I considered what my intuition was trying to tell me, I thought more about the practice of gardening, which is basically farming on a smaller scale.
Many experts agree that the seeds of modern civilization were planted along with those first crops by the original farmers. It was during this transition period about 10,000 years ago that life changed dramatically for the human species. Rather than foraging and hunting for the food provided by nature, we planted, tended and harvested crops. We domesticated animals for eventual slaughter. Rather than live a nomadic lifestyle, following the herds of animals and the blooming, ripe foods of the landscape, we put down roots and stayed put to tend our domesticated crops and animals. We built permanent structures which grew into towns and cities.
It is my honest belief that the closer we can model our lives on our hunter-gatherer ancestor’s, the more healthy, happy and fulfilling life we can enjoy. I don’t expect everyone to quit their job and abandon all of their earthly possessions to wander the forest eating bugs and sleeping in makeshift lean-to’s. However, I think the more we can incorporate nature and natural living practices into our lives, the more harmony we can discover and enjoy.
I realized, rather than study farming practices (despite the fact that permaculture is a brilliant model of farming which mimics the processes of nature, thereby cutting down on the amount of work required, it is still essentially farming) I should be studying hunter-gatherer practices! That wonderful spark of insight and intuitive guidance was lit!
Creating the Future
I immediately got on my laptop and started Googling wilderness survival schools. I found a few great schools, but only one had what I was looking for. Wilderness Awareness School in Duvall, Washington (outside of Seattle) has an amazing curriculum by the name of the Anake Outdoor School, which spans a full school year. The more research I did the more I recognized what a perfect fit this program was for me. The curriculum includes everything from tracking, stalking, trapping and hunting animals, which plants are edible and which are useful for medicinal purposes, how to build shelter out of natural materials, building fire with only what the forest provides, and so much more. The intention of the program is not just to learn these primal skills, but to learn how to mentor and teach the invaluable lessons inherent in this kind of education to others.
As fate would have it, Laurie and I were just about to take a trip to none other than Seattle Washington for a friend’s wedding. I scheduled a tour of the school while we were there and within 10 minutes of stepping foot on the 40 acre campus of lush forest, I knew I had found my place.
To my pleasant surprise after the tour, Laurie found the program calling to her as well. She is less interested in the primal living aspect of it, but is very interested in the native american roots of the teachings, as well as the leadership, communication and group facilitation training available.
After a lot of discussion and soul searching we made the choice to move forward and apply for the program. We were accepted last week. The program begins September 11th and we will move up on September 1st.
In preparation for the move, we sold the Tiny House and are minimizing life even more than we already have.
We’re not really sure what we’re going to do after the program completes in June of next year. We both expect the program to be highly transformative, and don’t think the version of us that exists today can properly plan the future for the June 2016 versions of ourselves. We may stay close to the school and pursue further education or employment. I may come back to the Bay Area to start a Survival Transformation School, or we may become nomadic and travel the world leading programs, who knows!?!?
Please consider this as your formal invitation to join me in this adventure and read along! I will be blogging along the way to share the amazing experiences we go through on this new path.
This post is the first entry of a new blog I will be updating throughout this life changing time, so that I can share the experience with you. I have titled the blog Thrive Tribe. This is a name I’ve been kicking around for awhile and really like. I picture this blog sparking a community of people (Tribe), interested in and committed to living an amazingly abundant, happy and healthy life (Thrive).
Please comment with questions, suggestions or encouragements so the Tribe can hear your unique contribution. I would also be incredibly grateful if you’d share the blog with your friends so we can grow our new tribe!
I want to leave you with my deepest gratitude for who you have been for Laurie and myself. You may be a family member or friend, former coworker, client or complete stranger that we’ve yet to have the pleasure of meeting. It doesn’t matter. If you’ve read this far, you are my kind of people and I am so thankful for what you provide in the world!